The Halvarssons Gruven is a new-for-2023, mid-length, two-layer, laminated jacket. It is, in effect, a longer version of the shorter Naren jacket that came out in 2022. The other way of looking at the Gruven is to suggest that it is a laminated version of a jacket that has been in the Halvarssons range for many years: the Wien jacket.
When the shorter Naren jacket first came out, we were not all that enthusiastic about it. It ticked a lot of boxes, but we were not massively taken with the way it wore. It didn’t always look great on. It didn’t have much presence. It didn’t feel particularly robust. And we weren’t particularly taken with some of the detailing like the fixed Outlast liner that could only get in the way of the jacket’s ability to allow direct-to-body venting.
But what became clear was that a lot of people liked the jacket, and the matching pants that went with it. There were a couple of things that people particularly liked. The first was the jacket’s lightness. The second was the stretch that was built into the outer shell, in the way that it is in the Rukka Nivala. These factors combined to make the Naren very easy to wear.
Now here at Motolegends we often bang on about the importance of being comfortable on the bike, and a lot of people found the Naren comfortable, so we had to kind of review our thinking. But what also became clear was that the jacket simply performed. We had very few failures, very few issues, and few, if any, complaints about waterproofing. Simply put, the jacket seemed to work.
What we particularly like about the new Gruven jacket is its length. As we’ve suggested, it resembles one of our favourite motorcycle jackets of all time, the Wien. And so we take the view that if the Gruven were to offer the fit and wearability of the Wien with the benefits that derive from a laminated membrane, then this might just be the jacket we’ve been looking for.
So let’s take a more in-depth look at the Gruven.
Like the Naren, the Gruven is a lightweight jacket, with very little by way of bulk. In this it is aided by the incorporation of the company’s lightweight, Level 2 armour that comes included in the shoulders and elbows. Obviously, it will take a back protector, but it’s not included as standard. It fastens to the jacket by Velcro. Now Halvarssons does just such a back protector, but it’s not very nice, so you’d be far better off with one of our Velcro D3O protectors. To be a bit more precise, it’s a T8. The jacket can also take a chest protector. Suffice it to say that the Gruven is rated AA under EN17092. You could certainly not expect more. You would perhaps not expect less.
In terms of waterproofing, the Gruven uses Halvarssons’ famous Dryway Plus membrane that they have used for years in all their drop-liner and laminated jackets. It’s a totally reliable membrane, and the way it is applied to the Gruven, you can be confident that this is a jacket that will never wet out.
Of course, one of the things we particularly like about the Gruven is its elasticated, centre belt. This will allow the jacket to accomodate a huge range of shapes and sizes. But importantly it will allow the wearer to increase or decrease the volume of the jacket, dependent upon the conditions and what mid layers are being worn.
When it comes to the detail, the Gruven has all the bits you would expect. There are two pockets on the outside with Velcro flaps. There’s another one inside the jacket. You get two neck collars that attach magnetically. Zips and velcro flaps at the ends of the sleeves. And a full length zip at the hem that will enable you to connect to any Halvarssons or Rukka pant. The designated pant, however, would be the Laggan.
You also get a removable, thermal, inner jacket. It does not attach to the jacket in the traditional way, although there are buttons at the ends of the sleeves. In this, Halvarssons would seem to have copied Rukka and Klim, but they haven’t used a down jacket; they have created a jacket that incorporates some form of hollow-form fibre. The jacket is also lined with a reflective foil designed to help slow down the escape of heat from the body. The jacket has elasticated panels up the flanks and down the insides of the sleeves, the idea being that it will comfortable enough to wear not just on the bike, but off it as well.
Which leaves just one feature or detail that we want to highlight. The venting. Now the jacket has a fixed Outlast lining. Outlast is clever stuff. More accurately it is a thermal regulator rather than an insulator, but in cold conditions it will store and hold on to heat generated by the body. By contrast, when it’s hot, the Outlast membrane can draw heat out of the body. But the problem with the fixed Outlast membrane is that it will prevent air coming into, and exhausting out of, the vents. And this is a shame because one of the benefits of a laminated jacket is direct-to-body venting. Now the jacket has two vents on the chest, although the way these are configured they are not going to allow huge amounts of air into the jacket. There are two more vents on the upper arms. And two exhaust vents at the back. Normally, we would suggest that a jacket like this was well vented, but given the fixed lining we feel that we couldn’t honestly make such an assertion.
The Gruven has a lot going for it. It is the jacket that a lot of motorcyclists are looking for.
It is going to be super comfortable. It is light and easy to wear. It will be highly adjustable on fit. It will be protective. It will keep you dry, and never wet out. And with both its thermal components in play, this will certainly be a warm jacket.
I think where we get to is that this would be the perfect jacket for motorcyclists who don’t tend to stray from these shores too much. And that is because, once the temperatures start to get into the high twenties and thirties, this is not going to be the jacket you want to be wearing. But here’s the thing; when the temperatures reach that kind of level, nothing with a membrane is going to be particularly comfortable. And so if you were take the view that in the very warmest conditions you would wear something meshy, or without a membrane, then this might well be your perfect jacket for the rest of the year. it’s just a thought.
The reality is that, despite what I read on some retailers’ websites, there is no such thing as a four-season motorcycle jacket. The best you’ll ever get is three seasons. And so, if you can accept that this is a great jacket for the autumn, the winter and the spring; and that you might need something lighter and more breathable at the height of summer, then you may well find that the Gruven is just the jacket you’ve been looking for.
And the price does not seem unreasonable. At £599, it’s not cheap. But it’s only £70 more than the Naren, and it comes with a removable thermal that the Naren doesn’t have. The Kalix from Rukka is £680. The Kalix has no thermal component, but it is a Gore-Tex jacket, and it does have a six year warranty. To some the £80 premium will not be difficult to justify, but the Kalix is not very comfortable, and not very adjustable. The other jacket that one might compare it with is the Klim Latitude. There’s a new one its way; it’s going to be a corker, but at £860, and with no thermal, we’re potentially entering entering a different price bracket
Anyway, our job, as we see it, is not to make your life easy. It’s to give you choices. The decisions, I’m afraid, are all yours!
For more information and to buy online, click Halvarssons Gruven jacket.
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